Recently, a Nielsen Online report revealed that newspaper websites attracted a record number of unique visitors in the third quarter of 2008 -- a 15.8 percent increase over the same period a year ago. Newspaper website visitors generated an average of just over 3.5 billion page views per month throughout the quarter, an increase of 25.2 percent over the same period a year ago (2.8 billion page views). These figures are the highest for any quarter since NAA began tracking the data in 2004. Good news for online newspapers amidst a bad time for print newspapers. According to, Gannett reported a decrease in third quarter revenue, the New York Times Company said total revenues fell 8.9% in the third quarter year over year to $687 million, and McClatchy posted third-quarter revenues of $451.6 million, down 16.4% over the same quarter last year. What is the secret ingredient for online newspapers? The president of the Newspaper Association of America attributes the increased engagement to this: “news surrounding the economy and the presidential campaign rivets the nation, record audiences are trusting newspaper Web sites for comprehensive, up-to-the-minute reporting and analysis on the events that impact their lives.” But it's not only the increase of pressing national and world news that's attracting users, it's the enhancement of dynamic online features, such as video and interactive tools, which not only deliver news, but engage the user as well. In these times of economic woe, there is a dramatic shift taking place. Between layoffs and budget cuts, the print industry is suffering, as online media is gaining momentum. As we've said many times before, online newspapers have the ability to enhance and engage users with a plethora of online tools, that when used successfully, can revolutionize news media.